This is my smoke signal!

Just wanted to drop a quick line to let you guys know what the end of a college semester looks like, and to let my parents know I'm alive under all this studying! I tallied up the number of hours I expect to be toiling away at homework this weekend, and the total quickly reached a neat 24.

I have about 12 hours "free" to work this weekend when I'm not performing, in a meeting, or fraternizing with my professors and peers at idyllic spring picnics and the like.

In other words, STRESS! The stuff I'm working on is actually really fascinating, but I'll probably only appreciate that after the fact, when I have three 10-to-15-page papers printed and sitting in front of me in an aesthetically pleasing stack.

The big-ticket items for each class include:

A paper on meditation in psychotherapy for my Indian Philosophy class: this will allow me to explore my interests in Vipassana and counseling, by analyzing the extent to which modern Western psychotherapy retains aspects of Buddhism in employing mindfulness meditation as a means to work with clients.

A paper on the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada River for my Environmental Policy class: this piece of controversial infrastructure is actually the reason I study at Harvard. Had my dad not been working on this project in the 90s, he never would have met his future employers at the World Bank, moved to the States, etc. etc. and I probably would have been born in India. So this project holds immense personal significance for me...and I should probably start thinking about working on my paper.

A presentation on integration by parts in my Calculus class: don't ask me what this means. All I know is that at the end of the semester, each student has to "present a lesson" on a concept in mathematics outside of the scope of our course, to experiment with having to learn math independently in the future (yikes!).

An analysis of a piece of critical literature on a piece of Latin elegy for my Latin class: this will be the treat I look forward to devouring after turning all of the above in. I haven't yet selected my topic, but being offered a list of options will be like going on a field trip to a candy store.

After all this is taken care of, I'll just have a few odd problem sets, translations, oh, and exams to worry about before a summer of recording an album with the Opportunes, working in Mexico at Centro Mario Molina, and coaching a team for National Latin Convention in Las Vegas!

Alright, reading period: here we go.

Opportunes NYC Tour Part II

Saturday in the city has been such a fun whirlwind of a time!

The Opportunes left their respective homes and met up around 11am to drive to Bendy's brother's Bar Mitzvah in Jersey. We had an awesome time performing for one of our most enthusiastic crowds, breaking out favorites like our Michael Jackson and Destiny's Child medleys. Singing for Cameron's 8th grader friends was a great time!

We enjoyed a scrumptious lunch after our performance, and were asked multiple times how we find the time to study amidst our chaotic musical lives -- a valid question!

On our way back to New York, we practiced / held an impromptu concert for our van driver, who exclaimed that he should be tipping us rather than the other way around!

Apparently, he had not been aware that he had been driving a craaazy musical group around all morning!

After this came my favorite part of our day -- an hour-long performance in Central Park!

We pulled out our all-time favorites and serenaded the New Yorkers strolling by, making their jaws drop and encouraging them to buy our album!

The crowds we drew were absolutely awesome, and singing in this type of sunny setting was idyllic and super fun. To hear the end of our Central Park "show," click here.

This performance was incredibly special for me especially because of a visit from my New York family -- Jyoti Masi, Manpreet Masi, Ishdeep Masadji, and little Mithi!

After sending them in circles around the park (and neighboring parking lots) all afternoon, I was thrilled to see them in the audience as we performed two of our most popular closers.

I was equally pleased to be able to spend some time with them this afternoon, enjoying a yummy dinner at David Burke and dessert at Magnolia Bakery. It was lovely to catch up with my Masis and Masadji and watch Miss Mehar's antics at the table -- this one is going to grow up to be quite the musician! (Unfortunately, she wasn't entertaining paparazzi today; she refused to be in our picture.)

We're now getting relaxed and ready for some quality time tonight with our Opportunes alumni in the city.

Good night, New York!

Opportunes NYC Tour Part I

I write from the lovely living room of Leah's grandparents' magnificent apartment in Manhattan, watching Something Borrowed, Something New to unwind after a fun day driving to New York and performing with The Harvard Opportunes en route!

The Opps met at 10am this morning, and after some logistics wrinkles, Car 1 was on its way with Madeleine driving, Rutna riding shotgun, the boys in the backseat, and Pilar squished into the back.

Our car members took turns DJing, while we sang along, at times slaughtering the lyrics to some of my favorite Regina Spektor tunes.

Early afternoon, we arrived at Meadow Ridge Retirement Community in Redding, Connecticut -- a gorgeous independent living facility developed by Leah's uncle.

I would love to have my grandparents in an Opportunes audience, so it was so special to be able to sing for both Leah's and Matt's grandparents in the audience during our set today!

After our performance and the acceptance of some ladybug-shaped gifts from enthusiastic audience members, we set out for Erin's house to unwind with Mrs. Aoyama, Mr. Aoyama, and Kapi!

As we snacked on chips and guacamole (and no peanut butter M&Ms for Dylan), the Opps decided on a movie for the afternoon in our least contentious discussion of all time: The Hunger Games. We enjoyed Catniss' climbing, Peeta's peril, and CiarĂ¡n's commentary.

After the movie, and once Reid had joined us, we sat down to a delicious dinner and divine brownies courtesy of Erin's mom. Yummm.

We piled back into our respective vehicles after dinner and headed off to the four different houses that will be hosting us tonight! Leah, Erin, Sarah, and I now enjoy a quiet and cozy girls' night complete with television, homework, and brownies. This is the life!

Making Mexican Music

As a huge fan of Latin American culture and the Spanish language, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to perform with Harvard's amazingly talented Mariachi band at their spring concert last night.

Click here to watch the performance -- the evening totally put me in the mood for my summer in Mexico!